Will Canon resist or succumb to the pixel peepers?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by horse, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. In the January 2013 issue of Popular Photography they have named the Canon 5d Mark lll the Camera of the Year for 2012. The three contenders were the 5d Mark lll, Nikon D800, and Sony Alpha 99. So the question is does Canon need to boost megapixels significantly upwards or is the 20mp to 24mp range for full frame sufficient? The article is Modern Maturity, pg 58 Popular Photography-January 2013. I couldn't find it at popphoto.com web site for a link. This is an open ended question, I have my thoughts but I am interested to see how the coin falls on this issue in sight of this shocking revelation. So let the debate continue.
     
  2. So the question is does Canon need to boost megapixels significantly upwards or is the 20mp to 24mp range for full frame sufficient?​
    I found the answer at (link)
     
  3. Hmmmm......the answer I got was, "No Way!"
     
  4. As long as the pixel peepers buy camera bodies, everyone will be catering to them.
     
  5. As long as the pixel peepers buy camera bodies, everyone will be catering to them.​
    That's a pretty ignorant response, as is the original question title - I'm no pixel peeper, but I surely appreciate the benefits of lots of pixels, because I like detail and the ability to crop.
    Not everyone takes pictures of bandstands at 77mm...
     
  6. I have not read the article, but of course you cannot believe everything that you read. I don't know how many opinions were taken to award the "winner" either. In any case I suspect substantiation for the winner was heavily weighted to high ISO performance which means absolutely nothing to me, being an ISO 100 shooter only. Obviously my opinion/vote will always go to the best Low ISO performance, and hence, yes, Canon very much needs to get into the 36-40 MP battle.
     
  7. What the heck happened. Multiple post.
     
  8. Multiple post.
     
  9. I think the bigger question is at what pixel density will performance plateau...and what will be the market consequences.

    As far as I'm concerned, I don't really mind the extra resolution, so long as noise performance and dynamic range remain
    reasonably steady. With 18-22MP I'm a lot more comfortable cropping than I was in the past.
     
  10. I asked the Magic 8 Ball if there will be a 46.1 megapixel Canon EOS 3D next year. It said "Definitely".
    I wanted to be sure and asked again. It said "Maybe".
    I am confused by swami's answers.
     
  11. I've polished up my crystal ball and here is what I saw : In the same way film grain got finer I saw sensor resolution contunuing to increase. But alongside that I saw other aspects of sensor performance becoming more significant. Factors such as dynamic range and high ISO / noise performance. I also saw that just as digital sensors achieve their maturity they will be superseded by something completely different. Now.. those lottery numbers....
     
  12. Not everyone will benefit from a camera with higher photosite density. Not everyone benefits from a camera with a video mode. Not everyone benefits from a camera with faster burst mode. Not everyone benefits from a camera with a larger sensor. Not everyone benefits from a camera with iive view. Not everyone benefits from a camera with...
    You get the idea.
    A camera built to meet the needs of the average buyer and no more would a) not meet the needs of the half of potential buyers whose needs exceed the average in at least one way, and b) would get panned in this forum, the photography publishing world, and by buyers.
    While everyone most certainly does not need more than 22MP (or perhaps even more than 12MP) nor full frame sensors nor the rest... some photographers can take advantage of various improvements in digital camera technology. Regarding photosite density, as the trend continues of being able to produce higher density sensors with improved overall performance at roughly the same price point, I'm happy to have them for my own work.
    And, of course, no company operates in a vacuum in which it can fully set the goals for the market. When Nikon (and, no doubt, eventually others) produce fine cameras at reasonably price points that have things like 36MP sensors, companies that intend to compete in that market space must respond.
    Dan
     
  13. Factors such as dynamic range and high ISO/noise performance.​
    In reality, increasing pixel count has not had any negative impact on noise performance at the image level thus far - quite the opposite, in fact.
    And while theoretically DR might be expected to decrease with smaller pixels, again in the Real World the opposite has happened - just compare Nikon D7000/Pentax K5 DR with that of any lower density crop camera that came before them - and with quite a few older, less densely packed FF sensors too.
     
  14. Keith, that's exactly why I don't mind the increases in resolution. If they were having a negative impact in other areas, I'd be more willing to complain. But as it stands now, while maybe certain areas aren't progressing as dramatically as some would like (and as they might if they were sensor makers' primary concern), things are still improving across the board.
     
  15. "And while theoretically DR might be expected to decrease with smaller pixels"

    The question is when does physics overtake improvements in design and production engineering. I think we'll see steady increases in density and better DR/high ISO performance for another decade, at least. I think the pace will slow, though.
     
  16. I think Colin and G Dan have it right.
     
  17. It's not about sufficient. If Canon are losing sales to Nikon and market research indicates that one reason for that is that Nikon have more pixels, then you can bet Canon will be working on a sensor with more pixels than Nikon.
    We have not yet hit the point at which noise and DR are noticeably worse for higher (36MP) sensors than for more modest pixel count (24MP) sensors. There is no wall, just an increasing steep slope. If you are happy with the noise and DR performance of a camera like the G15, then you could have a FF camera with 240MP with the same noise and DR performance.
    Pixel count is driven more by marketing than technical requirements. I suspect the vast majority of photographers never make prints large enough to reveal image degradation due to a lack of pixels in the sensor.
     
  18. Bob wrote:
    "Pixel count is driven more by marketing than technical requirements. I suspect the vast majority of photographers never make prints large enough to reveal image degradation due to a lack of pixels in the sensor."​
    True, of course. However, there are those among us who would not be very happy at all if camera manufacturers spec'ed cameras that were only sufficient for the average user. (By the way, that 240MP sensor extrapolated from the P&S world would actually work pretty well in many ways and produce very high quality images in, say, a full frame sensor. There would, indeed, be more noise - but the "grain" of that noise would be vanishingly small and thus cease to be an issue. Here the reasons for not putting such a sensor in a larger format camera are more about cost and design issues than image quality.
    (And, no, I'm not actually calling for such a sensor in the next full frame Canon camera! :)

    Keith wrote:
    "In reality, increasing pixel count has not had any negative impact on noise performance at the image level thus far - quite the opposite, in fact."​
    Precisely. I alternately laugh or become frustrated with the folks who come out of the woodwork every single time that a new camera with higher photo site density is announced or delivered to tell us that the previous generation was the best that can be done and any further increases in photo site density will raise costs, diminish high ISO performance, increase noise, decrease dynamic range, slow camera operation, make files too large, and cause global warming.

    I made up the last one.

    People have been saying this stuff, obstinately, since back when the question was whether 4MP sensor would be too big. They ranted about it when we went from 6MP to 8MP, from 8MP to 10Mp, from 10MP to 12MP, from 12MP to 15MP, from 15MP to 18MP, from 18MP to 21MP, and any other combination of an earlier, lower density sensor you can think of and a later, higher density sensor.

    Here's the problem. If their concerns had the least bit of validity outside of their limited theoretical framework (which only works if you ignore a lot of relevant critical factors), as each generation of cameras suffered more and more from successive levels of the degradation that they predicted, DSLRs would be pretty much unusable today.

    However,
    • relative to cost of living and in some cases relative to dollar amounts, the cost of the DSLRs using the newer technology has gone down rather than up.
    • high ISO performance has continued to improve, to the point that we regularly shoot these cameras at ISOs we would not have imagined using even a half dozen years ago.
    • noise performance continues to improve, to the point that outside of forum discussions it is almost never an issue in actual photography.
    • dynamic range has continued to expand and by significant amounts
    • cameras like the 1Dx now provide 18MP full frame sensors and operate faster than previous equivalent cameras.
    • as file size has increased, decreasing costs of memory cards and external storage with hugely greater capacity has more then kept up, and steady improvements in computer processing speed have allowed us to work with larger files without penalty.
    Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that global climate change continues...
    Dan
     
  19. G Dan:
    <blockquote> diminish high ISO performance, increase noise, decrease dynamic range, slow camera operation, make files too large, and cause global warming.

    I made up the last one.</blockquote>

    I've heard some of these cameras get really warm in video mode. :) :)
     
  20. Gentlepersons:
    RE: PIXEL PEEPERS
    As I understand it, pixel peepers is a derogatory term assigned by self-appointed artistes, to people who favor the ability to do large blow ups and/or have concern for the technical quality of their work, etc.
    I've been around long enough to watch the evolution of film from plates to digital. Subsequently, I was actively taking snapshots during the days when many people were using the convenient, pocketable 110 film cameras. Perhaps I wasn't just at the right place or in the right surroundings, or even didn't associate with the wrong type of people, but I don't remember there being a like derogatory term for 110 camera users to call those who used 35mm, medium format, or large format.
    It's piqued my interest. Does anybody know what medium format film users who enjoyed using a good lens and fine grain film were derogatorily called by 110 camera owners and folks who used single use throwaway type 35mm drugstore cameras?
    A. T. Burke
     
  21. Bob Atkins - "It's not about sufficient. If Canon are losing sales to Nikon and market research indicates that one reason for that is that Nikon have more pixels, then you can bet Canon will be working on a sensor with more pixels than Nikon."
    Exactly.
     
  22. If Canon are losing sales to Nikon...​
    You can be assured that there will be Canon CPS members who will leave Canon if there isn't a high megapixel counterpart to the Nikon D800/800E by early next year.
     
  23. "You can be assured that there will be Canon CPS members who will leave Canon if there isn't a high megapixel counterpart to the Nikon D800/800E by early next year."​
    Yes. Probably as much as .001% of them. ;-)

    The sky is not falling.
     
  24. There are certainly marketing benefits to having more pixels to entice potential buyers. But limiting that are all the pixel peepers out there wanting sharp & smooth down to the pixel level. Of course it's actually quite difficult to keep both groups happy. Witness all the flack Canon continues to get for the 7D's high pixel count causing early onset diffraction limitations. The argument is absurd of course but it continues to come up again and again. Similar arguments come from the lack of apparent sharpness and increased noise at the pixel level for all cameras with high pixel count. It's easier to placate pixel peepers with fewer pixels, and as long they primarily judge image quality at the pixel level, camera companies will have a difficulty selling more pixels to them.
    I don't find much practical difference over 15 MPix for what I do, except that larger files takes longer to process when you're dealing with 1000's at a time.
    Currently the small raw or jpg files that are offered on Canon cameras don't seem to offer much, if any, of the potentially offsetting advantages a real 8-12 MPix sensor would (higher sharpness and lower noise at the pixel level). And the cameras that have fewer pixels on their sensors can't compete with the quality at the image level from high pixel count sensors. So perhaps the more the better at this point. ---- Still, my computer continues to object.
    In the end, Canon, Nikon and all the rest make cameras that they think will sell. If more people want >30 or <12 MPix, then that's what they will make the most of.
     
  25. If more people want >30...​
    Photographer's have Medium Format DSLR's as a choice.
     
  26. However, there are those among us who would not be very happy at all if camera manufacturers spec'ed cameras that were only sufficient for the average user.​
    Actually I said the vast majority of users, not the average user. I suspect that the vast majority, and by that I mean maybe 95%, of users, never make prints large enough to reveal image degradation due to a lack of pixels in the sensor.

    The last thing I hear "the vast majority" of high end DSLR users clamoring for is higher resolution. Given 24MP cameras and a choice or lower noise, higher dynamic range, lower cost and higher resolution, I suspect "higher resolution" would be the last item on most photographer's list of choices.

    The Nikon D800 might be chosen over the 5D MkIIby some photographers is probably because it's cheaper, has higher dynamic range at low ISO and has a built in flash that can act as a wireless controller. The fact that it has more pixels is just an added bonus!

    The main reason why photographers might crave higher resolution is not that they particularly need or want it, but that someone else has it and they don't. Even if they got it they'd better have really good lenses and really good technique if they expect any actual benefit from it.
     
  27. Could someone post sales figures for the D800 and the 5D Mark III? Canon's marketing department would consult such figures before deciding whether a higher resolution body would be worth it.
    As far as I'm concerned, more is better as far as pixels are concerned. That said, as the owner of both bodies mentioned above, I have come to rely them for different features - the Canon when AF, ISO, and speed are of primary importance (events, street photography), and the D800 when I can take my time and capture as much resolution as possible (landscapes, cityscapes, portraits).
    Would I buy a higher resolution Canon? It depends on the price, but I would certainly be tempted. I love using Canon bodies and lenses, and my trusty TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II is waiting patiently for a muscular new playmate to move into the neighborhood. Let's just hope that they don't try to market a $7,995 dud like the D3X.
     
  28. Bob, your points are well taken, and I can't say that I "crave" higher resolution, but I would get a camera that provided it. I'm not typical though, since I'm dealing with resolution in fine art prints at large sizes.
    I suspect that in many ways we would agree more than disagree - certainly we're on the same page about the notion that the average DSLR shooter needs "more megapixels."
    But still... for those who do print and who shoot carefully, there are fine reasons to welcome higher MP counts on cameras whose performance is undiminished in other ways and especially so if the trend of providing such performance improvements at roughly the same price point continues.
    Just to be careful and to avoid misleading folks who think they have to have "the best" for reasons that go no further than "the best" - unless you are making fairly large prints and working fairly carefully, there is virtually nothing to be gained for your photography by going from 21MP to, say, 36MP. If one is sharing photographs online or perhaps running of an occasional letter size print, there is probably little or no reason for most folks to even worry about full frame.
    Dan
     
  29. Actually I said the vast majority of users, not the average user. I suspect that the vast majority, and by that I mean maybe 95%, of users, never make prints large enough to reveal image degradation due to a lack of pixels in the sensor.​
    That may be true who knows?
    I rarely make very large prints, but I do sometimes and more pixels gives me options. More pixels are also useful for heavy cropping, for example, sometimes with macro work. So I am probably an example of someone who most of the time doesn't need more pixels but still wants more pixels in a camera for the times that I do.
     
  30. I shot a lot of MF and 4 x 5 for commercial use, including 30" by xx posters. I am still impressed with posters that size from my lowly 1DsIII's 21.1 mpx, relative to film, so much so that I forget to worry about more megapixals. Must be the extra .1 mpx Canon tossed in really made the difference.
     
  31. As I understand it, pixel peepers is a derogatory term assigned by self-appointed artistes, to people who favor the ability to do large blow ups and/or have concern for the technical quality of their work, etc.​
    Precisely why I have a problem with the way the OP and some of the responses linked a preference for (or at least an appreciation for the benefits of) high pixel density, with pixel peeping.
    It demonstrates a fundamental lack of even the most basic knowledge of what goes on beyond their own cozy, undemanding little photographic comfort zones.
     
  32. Actually I said the vast majority of users, not the average user. I suspect that the vast majority, and by that I mean maybe 95%, of users, never make prints large enough to reveal image degradation due to a lack of pixels in the sensor.​
    First: I used to be a Nikon shooter, and I will not go back, ever. Canon gave me cheaper prices, more natural colors and the ability to use the best lenses, regardless of the manufacturer, and the last alone for me is a deal breaker (I can use Contax, Leica, Nikon, Pentax etc., other than Canon of course).
    I need the ability to make very large - meters/feet - fine art prints, when needed. And, maybe because in my film days my medium of choice was 25 iso film on Hasselblad for medium format and on a Linhof 13x18cm with Schneider lenses for large format, I'm a sucker for quality!
    I still routinely stitch from 3 to 6 frames with a 5D mk II, or if I'm in a hurry I use a software called PhotoAcute that with multiple shots - of the same frame - gives you a boost in resolution. And I almost never use the Canon at anything over 100 iso (I use the 5d mostly as a landscape camera, for reportage and available darkness work I use more portable solutions, like the X100 or a Nex).
    So yes, when Canon will produce a 100 bazillions megapixels camera I will be one of the first in line to buy it! :)
     
  33. Until Canon come up with a FF camera with the pixel density of the 7D or thereabouts I don't think they have fully utilised the resolution potential off their lenses. Afterall many shooters prefer APS-C for the reach factor.
    A higher pixel FF gives you this reach through cropping, without having to buy/carry a second body.
    This is another area where Nikon seems to have done it better by maintaining compatibility between FX cameras and DX lenses.
     

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